The European Commission appears likely to mount its own case against Microsoft – accusing the IT giant of anti-competitive practices.

European commissioner Mario Monti has warned that a decision is likely "soon". After, that is, the commission looks through 9,000 pages of evidence lodged by Microsoft.

Microsoft claims its business practices are in the best interests of consumers. It also claims to encourage innovation in IT. Monti replies: "We are not sure that their concept of interoperability and their market behaviour ensures a competitive scenario."

Possible abuse Europe is investigating if Microsoft abused its Windows-led monopoly power in the PC market. The EC believes Microsoft may have used its power to increase its market share in the server and corporate-network markets.

Sun Microsystems initiated the investigation when it lodged a complaint to the EC, claiming that Microsoft had withheld information it needed to help Windows PCs link to Sun servers as easily as they do to Microsoft NT servers.

The investigation began in February 2000.

If found guilty, the commission can fine Microsoft up to ten per cent of its worldwide revenues, make it disclose technical information or even force it to offer parts of its products to competing concerns.